Southport Model Railway Society
Newsletter No 6: March 2012 Welcome to this, our 6th newsletter. It now seems to be well established. However, I still need Club members to send me copy for inclusion in future issues. As most of you will be aware, our Chairman will be making a lifestyle change at the end of this month from being someone in a job that tends to annoy the public (a taxman) to someone who ‘pleasures’ the public (an engine driver on a preserved railway). We wish Peter and Chris all the best as they move up to wet Cumbria. I am reliably informed that later this year will see the 40th anniversary of the inauguration of the Club. In addition next year will see our 40 th exhibition. Therefore to mark these occasions we will be organising some special events – more details to follow later in the year (although suggestion will be welcome). May I remind everyone that our AGM is on Friday 13th April at our clubrooms. The formal notice and agenda is on the notice board. Please make your nominations for your new committee on that notice. Also if you have anything specific to bring up at the AGM, I need to have written notice of this by Tuesday 20th March. Hilary’s event on 14th February, Valentines Day, was excellent. The modelling prizes were well thought out – what they were, however, is best not published! Thank you Hilary for a superb evening.
*********************** Chairman’s notes As you know, a new career beckons for me. After just short of 19 years working for HM, I start my new career as the driver of Northern Rock on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway in Cumbria on the 20th March. This means that my time as Chairman will come to an end. I always intended to stand down in 12 months anyway, but it’s important that we have a figurehead and Chairman who will be down at the club each week. For me being Chairman was a learning curve and just like everyone else, I have made mistakes along the way but hopefully not too many! I feel that the club is in a much stronger place than before and that’s down to the hard work of everyone. We have a strong club, an excellent Exhibition and a thriving social scene with various activities from our sleeper trip to recent addition of our thriving monthly talks.
Editor- Ian Shulver ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) I will still be a member and try to come as often as possible to the clubrooms. I still fully intend to be involved with Talisker Glen and I‘ve packed my modelling box ready to take it to Ravenglass to keep working on the distillery building that I started. Finally, it has been an enormous honour and privilege for me to represent you and I have too many people to thank individually in this short piece. But I would like to thank everyone at the Club for their help and support that I have received while I have been Chairman. Whether it was at the Clubrooms or giving me someone to talk to about problems at home, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to you all, I will never forget it.
*********************** Monthly talks:
Our next Illustrated Talk is on Tuesday 13th March (venue to be announced). It will be given by Allan and is the second part of his series of talks on electrics for non DCC operation. There will be a committee meeting this month, again starting at 6.30. Our February talk was most interesting, fascinating and at time amusing. As you will be aware, this time last year a number of club members (and some spouses) made the arduous journey to India, principally to visit the Darjeeling-Himalaya Railway, but also taking in Delhi, Calcutta and the Ooty railway. Our chairman, Peter regaled us with a splendid set of photographs showing not only railway themes, but also some of the local and colourful street scenes. A significant number of the photographs included a certain gentleman sporting attire that would not have been amiss on the beaches of Hawaii and whose footwear would have had H&S officials going apoplectic (presumably our resident H&S official on the trip turned a blind eye to this). Many thanks to Peter, to Chris for preparing the food, and to Tony for hosting the event.
*********************** Layout reports Portland Street (Tony Kuivala). Portland Lower. Little to add from last month. Portland Upper. Some track realignment is essential prior to additional areas ballasted. More buildings have appeared. Monsal Dale (Ian Shulver). Over the last month, the new control panel has been built and tested for continuity to the west and east boards (the centre board will not be done for the moment). There is one final bit of re-routing of wiring
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to the fiddle yard point motors required before the whole thing can be tested live and hopefully something running (using substitute controllers until the permanent ones are purchased). On the scenic side, the back scenes for the two end boards have been given a coat of sky colour (thanks to Hilary). The next stage is to paint (help needed) the dry stone walls with a base coat of grey/cream before picking out some of the individual stones. Flocking can then continue. Talisker Glen We are eagerly awaiting track which has now been ordered. So in the next month or so, expect to see some activity. Frank and Derek are still open to offers of assistance from even the armchair modelling fraternity. ***********************
News (Tony Kuivala) We have over 20 Layouts booked in. Some are rather large so we are intending to ring some changes in adopting different footprints profiles in each Hall. Exhibition Competition Your committee has decided on the subject of this year’s competition which will be judged by one of our traders at the 2012 show. Hopefully you will all try to enter. The subject this year will be “Wagons & Wagon Loads”. The entry can be either: i) At least 3 proprietary wagons each with a different load (but not a proprietary one). ii) 1 (or more) scratch or kit built wagons with load(s). They can be in any scale or gauge, but the wagons should be place on short length of track and be accompanied by a short description (modeller, wagon type, load, method of construction etc).
Our Building: The updated work schedule, which includes reroofing the toilet/woodshed and a new flagged patio at the bottom of the garden has been adopted. The major items will be tackled midweek, possibly commencing later this month from Easter. Minor works, for example fence panels will be done during Club nights.
*********************** News from members In Norman’s obituary which featured in last month’s newsletter there was a photograph him, in trademark folded arm pose, overseeing the operation of Dulverton. Although Club members will have seen the Dulverton fascia board on the wall in the clubroom, they may be unaware of the layout’s history and so I thought it might be an apt time to describe this. Firstly, in real life Dulverton was the midway station on the Taunton to Barnstable line as well as being the northern ‘terminus’ of the Exe Valley line. The line followed the main Taunton to Exeter route as far as Norton Fitzwarren and then headed due west. From
here it was single track but with passing places at each station, the only exception being Yeo Mill Halt. The line saw a varied selection of traffic during its life, particularly during the holiday period when many specials from the north used it, although generally using GWR locomotives, principally Moguls. An exception to this was that LSWR motive power was seen, mainly T9’s and ‘N’ Class, presumably because they had running rights. The Exe Valley line provided almost exclusively 0-4-2 tanks auto fitted. Towards the end of its life, the line played host to the very occasional diesel. Now to the model. In the early 1980’s there was a hiatus with Club. We had a membership but no clubrooms and consequently no club layouts. During this the Club met at the Carlton Hotel and with the imminent expectation of a new home, two Club layouts were conceived, one in ‘OO’ gauge based on Radstock and the other being in ‘N’ gauge and based on Dulverton. We eventually secured some premises – the leaning house on Southport Road, Scarisbrick (no longer standing) and a start could be made on construction of both layouts. For the record both layouts were built but Radstock, I believe, was only exhibited one or two times but Dulverton lasted on the exhibition circuit into the nineties, going to such places as Kendal, Southport Station and the Woodvale Rally. It was eventually retired going firstly to, our then treasure, Gordon McKinnon, then to Phil Wellings and then, on his death, to Alan Beattie where I believe it still resides. The baseboards for Dulverton were built totally out of 4mm ply on the braced egg-box principal. It was immensely strong for such a light structure. However, if any of you are contemplating this method of construction, a word of warning. Do not add the diagonal bracing and track bed until the basic frame has been made, erected and checked for squareness otherwise you may find that no amount of persuasion will allow the boards to be connected together. Although the station track plan was just about to scale, a concession made was making the approaches to the station double track. Whilst this made for much improved operations at exhibitions, it made shunting and particularly services with the autotrain from Exeter extremely tedious to carry out. Most buildings were scratchbuilt from card, using drawings produced by Ian from scaled photographs. The only exception being the hotel which was freelance to fit the available space, and in any event I did not have any photographs at the time. The building plans are still available for anyone who is interested. Point operation was by wire in tube and the electrics were simplicity itself (two ring mains with droppers from the track). As mentioned before, as long as shunting was not attempted, operation was relatively straightforward and generally trouble free. This was surprising and testament to the care with which we laid the track (flat and with no curves less than 18” radius). The main bugbear was the points. When the layout was built,
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PECO points were all insulfrog, and I had not got into switching the frogs at this time, so unreliable point operation after a couple of years or so became the order of the day. The other complaint was the lack of suitable and reliable motive power. For GWR use, Farish provide a pannier, a hall and a prairie. Other locos had to be built from scratch or kit, and of course there was no autotrain (we had to make do with a pannier and scratchbuilt autocoach, as well as a motorized scratchbuilt autocoach and a non working 0-4-2). In conclusion, I believe it was a very good layout for its time and set the standard for future layouts. If built today, I suspect that an even better job could have been achieved – live frog and switched points for greater reliability, a more varied availability of stock, and not least the modeling experience we have built up over the years. Model Rail Scotland 2012 As you may be aware, Terry Tasker was exhibiting Jacksonville yard Model Rail Scotland 2012. Below are some notes that he has prepared about his take on the exhibition. “The Exhibition ran for three days with ample parking with the train station just three minutes walk away and so made it one of the easiest venues to get to. Staff at the SEC were friendly and the stewards willing to help. Some of the more outstanding Layouts that I believe are worthy of mentioning we Harton Gill (Carshalton & Sutton MRC 4mm) A fictional layout depicting the NCB in the southern Tyneside area in 1960. The era allows a mix of steam and early diesels in both green and blue - a very busy layout with movement al the time. Almond Bridge (Perth & District MRC 4mm) Yet again an other fictional layout (nothing wrong with that!). The modelling on this layout was brilliant with its centre piece being a nine arch viaduct. It was built using multiple plastic kits for the superstructure and was over 1.2m long. Hewisbride (57 Study Group 4mm) This layout was well modelled with the scenery looking very natural. The down side was that there was more movement on the fiddle yard than on the front. Enough said. Ryburn Bridge (Railway Modeller Team ‘N’ gauge) The layout was magnificent with movement all the time. If you have not seen this layout, make a point of finding out its next show. It does demonstrate what can be achieved in ‘N,’ assuming you had the resources they have! Great Western Railroad (Raven Model Group 7mm) The layout depicts a small section of the GW in spring and an overnight snow fall has descended over the whole scene. It looks magical and makes you feel cold just looking at
it. I did, however, get bored waiting for some movement to happen. Porchullin (Mark Tatlow 4mm) I thought this layout, by a long shot, was the best there. Even Peter Mills agreed with me! The scenery, the locos and rolling stock were weathered to perfection. The scenery, looking at it with my horticultural eye, was as near perfect as mother nature intended. The dry grasses mixed in with greens blended into one and other gave the perspective of distance too, altogether imparting the feeling of realism. There it a lot more to be said about this layout make sure you put it on your must see list. La Baraque (Hans Louvet 1:64 Netherlands) At first I didn’t quite understand this layout until I started to look at it properly. The buildings were outstanding and the detailing was second to none. It must have take hours of time to build just one, never mind twenty plus. I take my hat of to this exhibit, brilliant! My layout was placed next to this one and I must mention that Hans and his friend were really nice gentlemen and a pleasure to work next to. Overall, the exhibition had lots to see and do. But the highlight for both exhibitors and public came on Saturday when Southport Model Railway Club arrived. This came by the way of an announcement made by Hilary when she stood on a chair and announced ‘The English are here, stand by your beds’. Commandeering a full length table, the feast provided by Hilary was laid out – four full chickens, whole salmon, quail eggs and nine bottles of wine this list goes on. It just looked like The Mad hatters tea party even down to the sleepy dormouse (no names!) SMRS were the envy of all. Thank you Hilary. The weekend was a huge success as far as I was concerned but more importantly SMRS was seen to be at a major show. Both this Show and the one held at the NEC are the Chelsea’s of the railway world and the place to be seen at. Ok there was some layouts that didn’t seem to work all the time, mostly the ones with DCC and big fiddle yards at the back and not much in front, but many that did which made it all worthwhile. I must say a big thank you to Peter Mills (tonto) for helping me over the three days and making it a really enjoyable (my kidneys are now back to normal, but my liver may take some time!!!) “ Sleeper Trip 2012 Kent and Sussex This year’s trip will be based on the attractions and heritage railways of Kent and Sussex. Tradition dictates that there should be a sleeper trip sometime during the week so in the absence of
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any sleeper from Southport to Maidstone the trip will start on Thursday June 21 st with us travelling in totally the wrong direction (common on sleeper trips) from Preston to Edinburgh. There we will spend the day traversing the Scottish lowlands with a return trip to Glasgow, taking the opportunity to savour 2 of the 3 lowlands routes.
If you are interested in the trip please let either Frank Parkinson or myself know ASAP, we will require a £10 deposit as we will need to begin booking accommodation immediately. This year we hope to use Travelodge and Premier Inn accommodation which can be very reasonably priced if we book early enough.
We will then board the overnight sleeper to London arriving early Friday 22nd June taking opportunity to visit the London Transport Museum before heading off in late morning to the Historic Dockyards at Chatham where in addition to seeing the historic royal docks we will no doubt browse around the docks railway workshop. Overnight will be in the Chatham area.
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Saturday will see is travel to Canterbury. We had hoped to visit the Sittingbourne Railway on route but it’s not open on Saturdays! Instead at Canterbury the choice will be to spend the day there and see the many sites available or else take a short bus trip to the Elham Valley Railway Museum where according to the website you will be able to see the golden age of the railway. Overnight will be spent in Canterbury. Sunday will see us with an early start and heading off towards Folkestone but on the way stopping off to visit the East Kent Railway at Shepherdswell, part of the Colonel Stephens group of cheaply built rural light railways in England. The line was constructed from 1911 to 1917 to serve a local colliery at Tilmanstone. After a trip on the line we will rejoin the main line to Folkestone for our overnight stay. Monday will see us take the short journey to go on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. The 15in/381mm gauge line runs 13½ miles from the cinque port of Hythe via Dymchurch, St Mary's Bay, New Romney to Dungeness. At Dungeness we will alight and take the opportunity to visit the lighthouse. Then back on the line to Hythe and overnight in Folkestone. Our penultimate day will involve travel by rail to Ashford then by bus to Tenterden to join the Kent and East Sussex Railway. This Tuesday will be a special events day, a Pensioners Treat with tickets at £10 per person! The line is 10½-mile (17km) long through the Rother Valley to Bodiam, where we could visit the 14 th Century Bodiam Castle now owned and run by the National Trust. Our final night will either be in Tenterden or Ashford depending on whether the member takes the optional extension to Paris. At one of our sleeper trip planning meetings it seemed logical to at least look at the possibility of a trip on Eurostar given we were at Ashford. Individuals will make up their mind whether they wish to stay at Ashford and get an early return train to Paris or maybe an overnight in Paris. This is up to the individual and it’s reasonable to assume some members will just return to Southport after overnighting in Tenterden or Ashford.
Rails at Burscough Tony reports that the one day show on Saturday 18 th February at Burscough Wharf was an inspirational success in attracting new audience with attendance exceeding expectations. The event will be repeated on Saturday 16th February 2013.
*********************** Forthcoming events 3/4 March 13 March
Preston MRC exhibition More non-DCC Electrics (Allan Trotter at 73 Sefton St.) 17/18 March Heywood Exhibition. There is an open invitation to Club members to visit the show and Club room on 17th (see Tony for details) 31 Mar/1 Apr Bradford MRC exhibition 4 April Steam excursion from Southport to York (a Club outing is being arranged) 7/9 April York Exhibition (a Club outing to this event will be arranged) 13 April SMRC AGM at 57 Portland St. 13/15 April Barrow Hill Fab 4 Event. Tornado, Blue Peter, Flying Scotsman, Mallard plus 12 other LNER locos. (see Joe for details) 17 April More confessions of a footplate junkie (Tony Kuivala) 15 May Victorian Railway Expansion (Richard Jones) 12 June Railway signalling practice (Keith Gregory) 10 July Irish Railways (Mike Sharples) 4/5 August Woodvale Rally (final outing for Saltash) 14 August A4 & other Streamliners of the LNER (John Rimmer) 18/19 August Midland Railex, Butterley 1/2 September Blackburn MRS exhibition 11 September IK Brunel (Ian Shulver) 29/30 Sept SMRC Annual Exhibition 16 October Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway (Peter Mills) 20 November Scratch building using Card (Ian Shulver)
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